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Discover MBA Scholarship Winners Share Their Top Tips for Success

At Discover, we’re committed to advancing our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives through our continued partnerships with Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) and the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). Through those partnerships, in 2020 we awarded 8 MBA students with scholarships. This year, the scholarship recipients shared their sage advice, future aspirations and business school insights with us. Read their stories below to learn why we’re incredibly proud to continue to support these national diversity organizations and their members.

Donteria Evans

I’ve wanted to pursue an MBA since filing my first provisional patent in 2016. However, due to a lack of financial support, I was unable to pursue an MBA until now. I’m currently pursuing an MBA to further my business acumen and gain valuable experience as a career switcher.

Throughout my educational career, I’ve learned that there will always be a distraction. However, the prize is in how you handle every distraction you’ll encounter. As the first person in my family to graduate, I know first-hand how hard it is to accomplish something you’ve never seen or without a mentor. It is a lot easier to get distracted when the destination is unknown to you and all you have is a goal.

I would tell my younger self to stay focused. I’d reassure her that not everyone will understand or support her dreams, and that is okay. I would tell her this because she expects that she needs the support and confirmation of others, but she doesn’t.

Lawrence Montalvo

I don’t fit the traditional MBA background. At the start of quarantine in 2020, I embarked on a spiritual journey and I realized that I don’t have to conform in order to succeed in my field. After graduating, I plan on leveraging my MBA and experience by working in the cosmetics industry. I hope to start a new venture to center the queer and trans makeup experience and provide equity by involving our communities in the development and reinvestment phase. My goal is to have hiring power so that I can recruit LGBTQ and POC colleagues into marketing roles.

I’m a life planner and tend to expect certain outcomes to materialize in a desired timeframe. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that there is a larger meaning to everyone’s life at play and what we all desire may not happen at the “right time.” So, for those starting their career, going back to school, putting in hours to start a new business, just remember to enjoy the moment and the small wins that come with it and be proud of each step you take to get to your next chapter. Be patient and stand in your truth.

Andrew Varnau

After feeling stagnated at my previous position as an analyst in specialty retail, I knew it was time to challenge myself again by exploring other positions and industries. My goal after graduation is to land at a company where I have impact in the work that I do and the communities around me. I hope that I can act as a leader and give back to the communities I’m part of.

Three major values have served me well throughout my life. Firstly, I’ve surrounded myself with friends who are supportive, accepting and trustworthy. These friends have had a larger impact on my life than I’d have ever imagined. Secondly, I’ve felt free to be as authentic as possible with who I am in all facets of life. Finally, I’ve remembered that while pursuing academics is extremely important and shouldn’t be neglected, having fun and developing quality relationships along the way is important too.

I am extremely grateful that Discover Financial Services has decided to support the LGBTQ+ community through Reaching Out MBA. Doing so demonstrates a true commitment to supporting diversity in the communities that Discover serves as a business.

Jordon Rose

Business is often tasked with the sole role of generating money. While that outlook serves shareholders, it doesn’t help the world. I pursued an MBA so I could help reimagine how we think of business. I want to create a business that generates money and generates a difference.

This MBA marks the moment I go hard, or go home. My next step will mix my background in psychology, business and art. By the time I graduate, I’m hoping to build a start-up that uses psychology to train professionals to be less prejudiced.

My advice to my younger self would be to think less about how people judge and more about what feels right. Mozart was only truly appreciated after time helped the world understand him. Be your crazy self now and give the people in your environment time to figure you out. And if they don’t figure you out, good! Who doesn’t love a mystery!?



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